On Equitable Distribution of Migrants Arriving in Europe

By Dan Cadman on January 21, 2016

Several decades ago, a spat developed between the Border Patrol and the Investigations Division, both of which were part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The spat was over whether one of those divisions should be stuck processing, on a routine basis, aliens who were apprehended by the other, thus being forced to expend innumerable productive hours for which they would accrue no statistical credit. I won't say which was the aggrieved party; it's irrelevant to the story.

The INS Western Regional Commissioner at the time, Hal Ezell, exercising Solomonic wisdom and the innate instincts of a natural angler, resolved the spat by declaring "You catch 'em, you clean 'em." The INS is defunct and Mr. Ezell has passed on to that big fishing hole in the sky, leaving behind his declaration, which quickly became part of the lore of now-retired immigration officers of a certain age.

I thought of Hal Ezell and his statement this morning when watching a BBC World News item announcing that European Union (EU) ministers were having another of their interminable meetings to set rules requiring registration in the first country of arrival for the unabated massive flow of illegal migrants. They were also to discuss distribution arrangements to more equitably share out among the EU countries the arrivals, both past and present. (More than a million came in 2015 by land and sea.) Germany is apparently pushing hard for this redistribution of the wealth.

Imagine the other nations reacting to that proposal in light of the shocking New Year's Eve assaults of women by the hundreds in Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf, Germany, and even in Malmo, Karlstad, and Kalmar, Sweden.

They have to be thinking something along the lines of Ezell's famous dictum, given that Angela Merkel (Time Magazine's 2015 Woman of the Year — "Chancellor of the Free World") was so instrumental in precipitating the flood with her assertions that Germany would accept them without limit. It appears she's having second thoughts.

Meanwhile, Turkey is squawking loudly that, having lived up to its part of the bargain, the EU now needs to fulfill its promise to provide over three billion euros in aid in return for Turkey's clampdown on smugglers sending migrants across the Aegean Sea into Greece, where they move onward by land. This assertion is beyond hilarious; it would be like watching a bad Punch and Judy show, but for the fact that it is rife with death and tragedy. Both sides have dealt in bad faith and with unrealistic expectations of one another.

The same BBC segment showed undercover reporters filming the movement of dozens of migrants to the coast on a large, tourist-size bus driven by smugglers, and from there into several rafts. The journalists were seen by the smugglers and threatened at gunpoint, but not before they had videotaped Turkish police arriving on scene, observing events passively, and then climbing back into their vehicles and departing so that the migrants could make their perilous three-hour journey across choppy winter waters. Record numbers have arrived so far this January. So much for Turkey's side of the bargain.

And in other news fronts, Austria has announced that it will be sharply curtailing its asylum and refugee program while Norway has announced that it will begin deporting illicit migrant arrivals to Russia. Sweden has declared that it has reached its breaking point where acceptance of migrants and refugees is concerned. Other nations are also shoring up their borders and taking measures to limit arrival — all of them seem disinclined to agree with the notion of "equitable sharing". Does anyone seriously wonder why?